From basic grocery items to bulk paper goods, Sam’s Club is known for providing value to its customers. You can also utilize your Sam’s membership on auto-related items like gasoline and tires, but did you know you can also buy a car through the retailer? That’s right, the Sam’s Club Auto Program offers a car buying service to its members. So how does the Sam’s Club Auto Program work and can it get you a good car deal? We have the important answers.
What is the Sam’s Club Auto Program?The Sam’s Club Auto Buying Program is a car-buying service that is offered to Sam’s Club members and connects car buyers with participating dealerships. The Sam’s Club Auto Buying Program is powered by TrueCar, which connects Sam’s Club members to 10,000 participating TrueCar certified dealers across the country.
Sam’s Club Auto Program: How Does it Work?To purchase a car through the Sam’s Club Auto Program, you must first be a member. You can sign up for a membership on Sam’s Club website or by visiting your nearest store. Sam’s Club membership prices range from $45-$100 per year depending on your membership level. The auto buying service is available to all members. However, you don’t have to be a member to browse for deals. So if you are considering joining Sam’s Club just for the auto buying service, you can first see what kind of discount you will receive and if joining is worth it.
Next, you can visit the Sam’s Club auto website, which is a search engine for both new and used cars. For used cars, you can search by make/model, body type, or by price. You can also narrow your search with filters for condition, mileage, and CPO. Once you enter your search criteria, you’ll have a number of used vehicles to choose from. For new cars, you select the brand you are interested in, and all the new car models for that brand will populate. You then answer questions related to drivetrain, color, trim, and package preference.
After you select your car, you’ll see a pricing analysis that compares MSRP and TrueCar Market Average prices. You’ll then be prompted to enter your personal information including first and last name, phone number, and home address. After you enter your information, you’ll receive price offers from a TrueCar certified dealer in your area. Next, you’ll contact the dealership for a test drive and to complete the transaction. For new vehicles, you will also be eligible for any manufacturer incentives.
Does Sam’s Club Auto Provide Additional Benefits?You will need to notify the Sam’s Auto Club that you purchased the car within 45 days in order to receive additional benefits including 20% off auto repair expense reimbursement of up to $500 twice a year, up to two $500 auto insurance deductible reimbursements, and access to a certified auto mechanic.
How Much Can You Save with Sam’s Club Auto?According to the Sam’s Club website, members save an average of $3,463 off MSRP with the car-buying service. The service also offers exclusive member savings for used cars, but it does not provide an average used car price savings.
Can You Finance Through Sam’s Club Auto?If you require financing for your vehicle, you’ll need to do this through an outside lender such as a bank or credit union, or through the dealership. Sam’s Club does not provide financing. Check out our handy guide for tips on how to get a car loan .
Can you trade in your vehicle through Sam’s Club Auto?The program does not include vehicle trade-ins. However, you may be able to negotiate your trade-in separately with the dealer you purchase your vehicle from.
Can You Lease a Car Through Sam’s Club Auto?You cannot lease a car through Sam’s Club. The Sam’s Club auto buying program is for buying new and used vehicles only.
Does Sam’s Club Offer Car Insurance?The Sam’s Club Auto Program does not offer insurance, nor does it partner with any insurance companies. You will need to shop around for your own insurance when buying a vehicle through Sam’s Club.
Sam’s Club Auto Program ProsCompared to going it alone, buying a car through Sam’s Club is a simple and straightforward endeavor. The hassle-free shopping experience is one of the perks of buying through Sam’s Club. All the typical steps involved with buying a car - shopping around, researching information on multiple websites, visiting different car dealerships, and so on - can be eliminated if you know what car you want.
One of the most appealing aspects of the program is the pre-negotiated price. According to Sam’s Club, the average savings on each new car sold is $3,463. Used car shoppers can also take advantage of exclusive discounts. Along with price savings, Sam’s Club Auto Club members receive the following benefits:
- A detailed pricing analysis to see what other shoppers in your area pay for the same vehicles
- Additional Sam’s Club perks from the Sam’s Club Tire Center, which include special pricing on tires, tire installation, batteries, and other vehicle accessories
- Free flat tire repairs, battery testing, and wiper blade repairs
- Gasoline discounts
Sam’s Club Auto Program ConsWhile there are many benefits to the Sam’s Club Auto car buying program, there are also some drawbacks.
- Haggle-Free Pricing: If you’re a shopper who likes to negotiate prices, you may not be happy with the program’s no-haggle pricing. If you find a lower price elsewhere, you cannot negotiate beyond the provided price. That means that the Sam’s Club Auto price may not be the best price available.
- Limited Inventory: The program only included vehicles that are in TrueCar’s inventory, which means that you may not see all used vehicles available in your area.
Sam’s Club Auto Vs. Costco Auto
The Sam’s Club Auto and Costco Auto programs are quite similar, yet there are a few distinct differences. Sam’s Club partners with TrueCar, while Costco partners with a network of specific dealerships. Both programs help schedule test drives and offer haggle-free shopping experiences. Check out our article for more information on the Costco car buying program.
Bottom LineFor consumers who do not have the time and patience to do all the legwork associated with finding the best car deal, the Sam's Club Auto Program is a viable option. It eliminates some of the hassle of car buying, and directs you to a single car dealership. Because the need to haggle and hassle over a price is eliminated, the usual dealership pressure should be absent. You’ll either buy the car at the Sam’s Club price or go home. It’s a more relaxed car buying experience all the way around.
That said, it’s worth your while to arm yourself with information before purchasing a car through Sam’s Club. Do a little bit of research beforehand, such as browsing listings and getting a general sense of market value for the particular car you’re interested in; a great way to do this is with pricing and deal-rating tools such as the iSeeCars price analysis, available as part of the sites free VIN check.
Remember, it’s not all about the MSRP or the invoice price - certain models reliably sell for less than their suggested retail price, and manufacturer incentives can often drop prices dramatically. This could mean significant savings even without buying through the Sam’s Club Auto program. As with all things, it’s worth doing your homework - the more you know beforehand, the better equipped you are to find the best deal out there. And because you can see Sam’s Club prices without even being a member, you can comparison shop even without a Sam’s Club membership.
More from iSeeCars:If you’re ready to start the car buying process, you can search over 4 million new and used cars with the iSeeCars.com search engine that helps shoppers find the best car deals by providing key insights and valuable resources, like the iSeeCars VIN check report and Best Cars rankings.